By Antonio Castillo
There was an energy, enthusiasm, and electric vibe inside the Convocation Center for the first official practice of UTSA basketball under new Head Coach Steve Henson.
After stretching and warm-up's, the start of practice was 100% focused on ball-handling. Even the bigs were front and center showing the coaching staff that they could handle the rock up and down the floor.
From there, the staff spent a good portion on defensive rotations and taking the correct set position in being able to stand in and take a charge. If it wasn't their turn for the drill, players were extended on the baseline, watching and cheering. After the drill, teammates made sure that they all helped each other up.
Afterwards, the teams had a good amount of five on five action up and down the court. There was a group of six to seven players who consistently ran with the first unit. Those players consisted of: Nick Allen (So.), Giovanni De Nicolao (Fr.), George Willborn III (Fr.), Jeff Beverly (Jr.), Byron Frohnen (Fr.), Bola Alade (So.), and Lucas O'Brien (Sr.).
Senior guard Jr. Harris was not at practice as he was taking care of a class. Returning junior guard Christian Wilson also was not in attendance and is currently serving an indefinite suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Here are some other quick notes from Friday's practice:
-- Karrer From Deep: Junior reserve guard Austin Karrer had a good practice shooting. The New Braunfels-native was letting it fly from deep and draining a lot of his attempts.
-- Frohnen Physical: Freshman guard Byron Frohnen is every bit of 205lbs with a very well built upper body, and he is not afraid to bang. Frohnen is very active on the defensive end and getting into the passing lanes.
-- Stanojevic With A Soft-Touch: Freshman forward Mitar Stanojevic is one of the newcomers to this year's team. While the Serbia-native is certainly learning, he did show a nice touch for a post player as he connected on several outside jumpers.
-- Youth Movement: Three true freshman are getting a big opportunity to contribute early and are showing that they are not timid in mixing it up: Byron Frohnen, George Willborn III, and Givovanni De Nicolao. Willbron is the most athletic of the group and can score in many ways. De Nicolao, who just arrived in August from Italy, looks like a natural fit at the point guard spot.
-- Cranking up the volume: All of new the coaching staff is extremely vocal. It's close between Head Coach Steve Henson and Associate Head Coach Mike Peck as far as who is most vocal. But don't don't be fooled by Coach Peck's stature, he kicks it up a whole another level when he's on the court. He could be heard loudly over all of the action during practice.
-- Defense, Defense, Defense: The coaching staff had a huge emphasis on defense throughout the entire practice. From working on defensive drills as a team to individually, you can quickly see this is a point of emphasis for the new coaching staff. Special reinforcement was paid to defensive during five on five action. This included everything from rotations to staying active in the passing lanes to getting into the ball and their man as they brought the ball up court.
AUDIO: Coach Steve Henson Post-Practice Audio